Maria is a spirited seventeen years old who lives in a small town in Colombia. She works for very low wages at a large industrial rose plantation. Maria comes from a family of four who desperately depend on her every paycheck just to get by in life. After so many years of working and struggling, she becomes dissatisfied with her life. Maria begins to seek more out of their daily routines. She makes drastic decisions out of desperation for a new life. Maria quits her job when her supervisor refuses to let her go to the bathroom.
This was a point of finally letting go of what makes her miserable. Although, everyone around her is not as determined as she is for a better life, she continues to look for more. After an argument with her boss, she decided to quit her job in hopes for something better, more exciting. She decides to finally follow her heart and make a change. Maria later on goes to find out she is pregnant from her boyfriend. While her boyfriend purposes to her after hearing the news, she declines after realizing he doesn’t even love her.
Maria is looking for something new, but marriage is not the answer. She notices how miserable her sister is with a baby and the idea doesn’t settle in with her. The situation only makes her look for something different. In the process of looking for a new job in Bogota, Maria comes into contact with a friend she met in a party the night before. Franklin sensed that she wanted to do something different, so he tells her about a job as a drug mule. From what they were talking about Franklin saw that she was tired of her everyday life.
A drug mule is someone who carries drugs into another country. While knowing the risks, Maria unhesitatingly accepts after hearing the pay and opportunity of going somewhere other than Colombia. This shows that Maria knows what she wants; she is willing to accept anything out of her norm. She later meets with Javier, the one in charge of the operation. As he deliberately explains the risks, confidentiality, and pay of carrying drugs to America, she consciously accepts the offer. To Maria she sees this as a way out of her regular routine, and a chance to be somewhere new.
She secretly speaks with Lucy, another girl who has carried drugs to America and survived all the dangers of the work for an insight of the job. During the process Maria has to swallow 62 nuggets of heroin sealed with latex and dental floss. In New York, Maria is stopped at the airport in suspicion that she is smuggling drugs. They intimidatingly interview her in an isolated room, questioning her and scolding her about why she is in New York from Colombia. During the whole interview with immigration, Maria remains calm, showing a sense of courage.
After knowing the possibilities of getting caught, she persists with the x-ray they demand, to verify that she is in fact not smuggling drugs. Prior to the x-ray they take a urine test, watching her as she urinates into the cup to prove it is really her urine. When the officers receive the urine test, they find out that Maria is pregnant, and because of that they aren’t able to proceed with the x-ray. She saw this as a sign from god, as if someone was watching over her. Maria exits the airport where there are two men in a van waiting for her.
In the process of retrieving the drugs from her body and from the two other girls, Lucy gets ill. When a nugget brakes in your stomach, you will eventually die, so to save the drugs the two men cut her stomach open to retrieve the drugs. Maria awakes to see the two men carry Lucy out of the hotel room. This was the first time Maria has panicked because she felt that Blanca and herself have to pay, so they run away. Maria shows leadership because she decides they need to go, and what they need to do.
After running they realize the danger they were going to put their families into so they decided to contact the two men to return the drugs. Maria and her friend meet up with the men, with a lot of courage after running away from the drug dealers, and returning the drugs to receive payment. Their job is done and they are okay to go back home. While in the airport waiting for her flight to board she thinks about going back to her miserable ways. She thought about her baby, and the opportunities her baby will have in America.
After thinking about it thoroughly, Maria makes the biggest decision of her life, and that is to stay in America. Maria shows how courageous and determined she is to forge a new life for herself no matter the cost. She comes close to encountering death, danger, betrayal, and violence in this process of finding herself and what she wants. Maria fights for her escape and frees herself, standing alone just as when she started this adventure. Maria breaks her norm and now will give her child the life she always wished for. She can finally close that chapter in her life, and start over new.